How to do it

Forget Mary Poppins – get your own flying nanny

Just the subject of children and planes seems to be contentious – from people telling you to avoid all flights for your own sanity if you have a family to airlines introducing child-free sections to cries of alarm and approval.

But Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has come up with a new solution – an in-flight ‘flying nanny’ childcare programme. mary-poppins-fly-children-nanny

They’ve partnered with Norland College, of Norland Nanny fame, to create a special training programme for 500 cabin crew. You’ll be able to spot them on board thanks to bright orange aprons, and while you can’t just hand over your baby and kick back with a film, they will be there to give a helping hand to parents on long-haul flights.

And that could be helping with boarding, or creative ways to entertain children, plus they’ll have had lectures in child psychology and sociology to help understand developmental stages and the behaviour they might need to expect.

They’ll also be armed with a kit containing straws, stickers and cardboard among other items, for some quick crafts, as well as teaching kids simple magic tricks.

For older children, they’ll have quizzes and challenges to help keep them occupied, as well as taking them on tours of the galley (given the size of most planes’ galleys, tour might be overstating it but it’s always fun to see behind the scenes).

So if you’re travelling to Abu Dhabi, or to one of their destinations worldwide passing via the hub, look out for the orange aprons.


Image: Radio Bemba! SoundSystem/Flickr